Rossi secures pole position with Sepang record2009-10-24 02:33
Valentino Rossi will start the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in pole position, as he bids to secure the 2009 FIM MotoGP World Championship at Sepang on Sunday.
A best lap of 2'00.518 in qualifying secured the reigning champion pole position for the seventh time this season, with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa completing the front row.
The Italian broke his own previous pole record at the circuit, which he recorded on a 990cc machine in 2006, by 0.087s - and he lapped 0.569s faster than his Fiat Yamaha team-mate in this session. Rossi knows that by finishing in the top four tomorrow, he is assured of a seventh MotoGP world title and ninth career world crown.
Lorenzo, who crashed on his MotoGP race debut at the track last season, was followed onto the front row of the grid by Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda man had been the fastest in free practice, but was unable to match the blistering pace set by Rossi, finishing a further 0.167s behind Lorenzo.
Casey Stoner, who won the race at Sepang in 2007, will head up the second row after lapping at almost a full second slower than Rossi, while Loris Capirossi secured fifth spot on the grid on his Suzuki GSV-R.
Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all came through inside the top ten as well.
Hiroshi Aoyama also set a new pole position lap record of 2'06.767 in the 250cc class, as the Scot Honda rider continued his fine form this weekend.
Having posted the fastest times in both practice sessions, Aoyama was 0.332s clear of Jules Cluzel (Matteoni Racing), with Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar) and Héctor Barberá (Pepe World Team) completing the front row.
Metis Gilera rider and defending 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli qualified in eighth spot, coming in 1.149s off the pace set by his title rival Aoyama. The gap between the two stands at 12 points, with the Japanese poised to snatch the title from the Italian if he were to win and Simoncelli could manage no higher than fifth.
Still in with a slim chance of the title, Álvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Team) will front up the second row on the grid, with Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT SAG) and Héctor Faubel (Honda SAG) both qualifying ahead of Simoncelli.
Marc Márquez topped qualifying in the 125cc class, taking pole position on the grid for the second time this season, and the second time in his career.
New world champion Julián Simón secured second spot with a final lap which was 0.055s off Márquez's time, whilst Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) and Sandro Cortese (Ajo Interwetten) completed the front row.
Smith crashed out at the end of the session with a high-side, and after a medical examination it was confirmed he had broken the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The 19 year-old will be fit for Sunday's race, however.
Nico Terol (Jack & Jones Team), Esteve Rabat (Blusens Aprilia), Joan Olivé (Derbi Racing Team) and Danny Webb (Degraaf Grand Prix) will comprise the second row.
The Sunday races in the three classes at the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix will take place at 12 midday (125cc), 1.15pm (250cc) and 3pm (MotoGP) local time (GMT + 8).
NB There is no daylight saving time change in Malaysia.
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